I don’t know
in the world’s great house
we were raised in
different rooms
and passed on stairways
you along the wall
me already more than half way
over the railing

Was it then
we began
sending each other pictures?

I was wearing
the shirt you made me
The way the sun was
you couldn’t see my eyes
or so you say
I remember
the far edge of the garden
when you turned toward me
above your outstretched arm
the Jacaranda
lifting its
pale architecture

you say now
you’d go that far
For the children
And tell me I can have
what’s left of the beerglasses
these four tin plates
equitable distribution
according to the laws
of California

You slam the trunk lid twice
calling me poet
like that again
but delicately
assure me
God will bless all those
who sail in me
before you drive away

Explaining Myself (To Myself, If To No One Else)

In this crazy season just prior to the U.S. elections, I’ve found myself strangely unable to pay adequate attention to my own business. There are just too many people around me who’ve given themselves over to the din and the compulsion, and want me to join them in their last ditch defense against the unthinkable. I can’t do it, not least because I’ve long been convinced that the unthinkable is already upon us. We’re going to have to live with it at one level or another for as far as most of us can see into the future. That will take some doing, at least for those who will live through more of it than I’ll have to.

Still, it may be a good idea, in my current rattled state, which seems to recur every two years at about this time, to take stock of where in the landscape of our current discontents I find what Christians call the Rock Of My Salvation. Then, with any luck, I’ll be able to get back to business again:

1. Immanence rather than transcendence

2. Heraclitus rather than Aristotle

3. The Tao rather than filial piety

4. Blake rather than Newton

5. Marx rather than Keynes

6. A decent respect to the opinions of mankind rather than full-spectrum dominance

7. Mens sana in corpore sano above all (although I freely admit that this doesn’t mean to me what it seems to mean to most of my contemporaries.)